We saw a record four quarterbacks go in the top 10 picks of the 2018 NFL Draft, so it goes without saying that there are some first-year signal-callers facing great expectations this year.
Which of these QBs will be the most successful in 2018?
I reached out to five personnel executives with that question, now that they've had some time to digest the draft results. Here are their answers.
Executive 3: Darnold
"I thought he was the best QB (in the draft) by a fair margin. Also, he has the least amount of baggage and impediments to early success."
Executive 4: Darnold
"Tough question. I would like to say Sam Darnold. That offense doesn't have all the weapons he needs yet, but he will be able to handle all the pressures/adversity most rookie QBs go through."
Executive 5:Browns QB Baker Mayfield
"Mayfield. I like his supporting cast the best on offense. He has that (group of players around him), along with two offensive minds in Hue Jackson and Todd Haley running the show."
Summary: That's three votes for Darnold and one apiece for Mayfield and Rosen.
Conclusion: I think there's a good chance we'll see all five first-round rookie QBs (Mayfield, Darnold, Rosen, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson) start at some point this fall.
Of course, there will be growing pains for each of them, but I believe Rosen and Mayfield are the two rookie QBs best positioned to have some early success. Based on the talent and play callers around them, it's not hard to envision them having productive rookie campaigns.
Darnold will have his ups and downs. However, he has the mental and physical toughness to overcome some roster deficiencies and improve throughout the year. Like Rosen, Allen has the luxury of an elite running back in the backfield (LeSean McCoy), but I don't think the Bills will rush Allen onto the field. Patience is key for his development.
Everyone assumes this will be a "redshirt" year for Jackson, but he could change that narrative with a couple splash plays in the preseason. I can't wait to see how Baltimore eventually constructs the offense around his unique skill set.